Over the years as drug trends and agencies ebb and flow, there are things that are common questions, misnomers and/or faux pas that are addressed to the laboratory on a consistent basis. You may have been wondering some of this yourself. 1. Are you SAMHSA approved? – Great Lakes Labs is certified by the Department of Health and Human Services under CLIA. While both certifications are widely accepted, there are a few differences. If you are a government agency, counseling center, or private firm you and you are not a participant in DOT, FAA, USCG, and/or federal employee regulations, you do NOT NEED to utilize a laboratory that is SAMHSA certified. CLIA certification is just as valid and holds the same respectable and reliable qualities. In fact, our protocols follow the similar guidelines. 2. I need synthetic testing. A large majority of drugs are considered synthetic. (Synthetic Definition) When you ask for synthetic testing, this could include a list of hundreds of drugs. We are sure you would not like the price tag if all were analyzed. A few guidelines to remember: 1. Be specific. If you mean synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic cathinones, say so. Otherwise, it may delay the timing of analysis. 2. Not sure what you are looking for? Contact lab personnel for further discussion, which will enable our facility to assist in clarification. 3. Synthetic Opiates are not all the same. Fentanyl, Methadone, Buprenorphine, and many of the Fentanyl analogs have stand alone assays and a standard opiate panel will not include any of these. 3. I want LSD testing. Can you add that to the panel? We would be more than happy to add LSD analysis. However, LSD is so light sensitive that it begins to degrade almost immediately if not covered in aluminum foil. Amber bottles (light in color where liquid is still visible), wrapping in paper towel, storing in a brown paper bag are not acceptable submissions and will lead to lab rejections. (Helpful hint: most dollar stores now carry the pop-up boxes of aluminum foil that contain 10 -20 sheets.) 4. Rejected Samples – Since we treat EVERY sample as if it is going to court, there are universal precautions that are taken to protect the laboratory, the agencies we serve and the sample donor. There are few new additions that have some of you asking “Why?” 1. Test Not Performed – if you see this on a report, something was physically wrong with the sample itself. In most cases, the Creatinine level was below laboratory standards. Another reason for this rejection is the chain of custody is not intact. This includes a broken or missing tamper resistant seal, omitted signatures, or the chain of custody bar code number does not match the sample bar code. 2. Quantity Not Sufficient for analysis – The average amount of urine needed for analysis is 10 ml. However, in the cases of multiple confirmations or esoteric testing such as Synthetic Cannabinoids, it is best to send at least 30 ml. If you cannot, the laboratory procedure is to perform the tests that can sustain the volume sent. 3. Drug Tests to Be Performed – Lab technicians are really nice folk, but they tend to be picky when chain of custody forms do not state what test is to be performed. Believe it or not, it happens A LOT! If you receive notification that your selection was left blank, here is your next step: 1. Contact us in writing. Simply email or fax us (Best option is to use the report and write selections on it) the drug selection you require. We no longer accept verbal requests for test selection. 2. Contact us promptly. Our laboratory storage fills up pretty quickly with samples that did not request a drug. We allow 5 business days from the day you were notified to contact us with your selection. 3. Don’t forget. We know it sounds simple, but when you are in the hustle and bustle of your day it is easy to bypass this section. Before you seal up the sample, make sure you have marked the drug(s) to be analyzed.
For other information or questions about any of the items above, please contact the laboratory.
From all of us at Great Lakes Labs, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!
Great Lakes Labs has been in contact with many of your agencies about switching to an e-chain of custody on our client portal. By January 1, 2018, the majority of our clients will create chain of custody forms as well as receive results on this web-based portal.
Some advantages to the change include:• Time efficient• One time data entry• Ability to equip your agency with best practices data• Accessible 24/7
If you have not been contacted by the laboratory, reach out to your Account Representative today to schedule your office training session. 1-888-464-8885
In the summer of 2016, we hired Jackie Ruchti, a University of Pittsburgh student studying to be a forensic analyst. She spent the summer emerged in laboratory protocol and techniques! The time spent with us was not just about having a summer job. In fact, she went back to school with a new insight on forensic toxicology.Recently, she came back to visit us with the most exciting news. Jackie has been accepted into IUPUI’s Masters Program. Part of her thesis will involve a research project that will be of extreme interest to most forensic science buffs. She recently interviewed an Explosive Ordnance Disposal commander from the Army who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. With his extensive knowledge of explosives, he was able to help Jackie narrow down the parameters in which her research would be conducted. She concluded that her project will focus on “isolating genetic material from explosive residue due to their protein interactions”. Jackie’s goal is to become part of the FBI’s Counter-terrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit. We wish her the best of luck and we know that she will make a great member of the FBI.Looking for an internship? Great Lakes Labs can help. We will accept business and marketing majors, science majors (especially Chemistry or forensic science), and many other fields related to our day to day operations. Send in your questions or resume to email@example.com.
The following will be offered to new or existing customers throughout the month of November. Please contact the lab for details. One Panel Dip $.80 cents. Fentanyl, EtG and Tramadol Dips $2.0013 Panel Cups w/ EtG, Fentanyl, and Tramadol $5.00Purchase Devices on our website and mention promo code “BEAWARE” for 10% off your purchase. Contact us today! 1-888-464-8885
October is known for pumpkins, costumes and the changing of the leaves. In Porter County, Indiana it will be recognized as a month of awareness, education and also remembrance. The Porter County Board of Commissioners has issued a proclamation that recognizes the rise of opioid and heroin use within its borders.
A stakeholders meeting that we mentioned in our August newsletter, resulted in a step forward to combat the growing problem. This proclamation, which starts out with the statement, “There has been a simultaneous rise in opioid use and abuse associated with adverse outcomes, (e.g. addiction, overdose deaths, insufficient pain relief and treatment alternatives) leading the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Indiana State Department of Health, the Porter County Health Department, and the elected officials in Porter County to classify the overuse and abuse of heroin and opioid drugs an “epidemic”.It goes on to say that the month of October will be utilized for awareness, prevention and education of Porter County and other Indiana residents on this deadly problem.Great Lakes Labs will continue to be instrumental in those efforts in many ways. To read more of the proclamation, CLICK HERE
We are pleased to welcome aboard Dr. Syed Haque, our new Laboratory Director.
Dr. Haque is a Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and is Board Certified in Clinical Chemistry. Prior to coming to Great Lakes Labs, he served as a research associate and professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School, Northwestern University, Illinois. He has authored many works in the medical community and will be a great asset to our scientific team. We look forward to having his presence and expertise here at Great Lakes Labs.
Due to the publicity given to Methaqualone during the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial, customers are asking if this is a drug that has reentered the market. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Over the last several years, there have been very sporadic seizures of Quaaludes throughout the country,” per Eduardo Chavez, DEA special agent.The DEA is reluctant to confirm or deny any unilateral statement whether or not the drug has gained ground in the illegal market. The reason being, local law enforcement’s potential to encounter Quaaludes does not get directly reported to the federal agency. Quaaludes are still one of the most widely abused drugs in South Africa, according to reports.
*The image above is an original ad for Quaaludes. Recreational use of the drug gained popularity in the 1970s and it was made a Schedule I drug in the United States in 1984. Quaaludes have reentered public discussion since revelations that Bill Cosby allegedly raped women after providing them with the drug.
Time and time again we have individuals calling the laboratory and informing us that we have misspelled Marihuna (Marijuana). The most common way is noted with the “j”. However, the legal and scientific spelling is an “h”. This legal spelling dates to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act in which the word is spelled with an “h” and hence became part of the common American spelling. While no one knows exactly why the spelling was changed, it is rumored that it was spelled with a “j” in order to make it sound more “dangerous” in the efforts to prevent people from its use. The hard pronunciation (and origin) of the word in Spanish, to someone just seemed to make it more fitting. Others believe it is because Americans began to adopt many of the Mexican derived words.
Depending on what you are reading or what law you reference in the United States Legal Codes relating to Marihuana, the spelling appears interchangeably. As a result you will often see marihuana (marijuana) spelled two ways.For more information check out the article written in the Washington post in 2016:'Marijuana' or 'marihuana'? It's all weed to the DE article
This past week, Dr. Maria Stamp, Porter County Health Officer called upon agencies within our county to address, determine and establish guidelines moving forward on a multi-dimensional approach to curbing Opioid abuse. Michelle Volk, Great Lakes Labs CEO was fortunate to be able to participate in this roundtable forum. Stakeholders included the Coroner Harris, Sheriff Reynolds, Judge Jent, Prosecutor Gensel, Pharmacist Jim Spanopoulos, Chris Buyer, Chief Juvenile Probation, Laura Sutton, Adult Probation, Dr. Timothy Hamburg,Porter Regional ER, Elaine Merkel, Porter Regional Neonatal Unit, Scott Arnold, Valparaiso EMS, Portage Fire Department, Carmen Arlt, Porter Starke Services and representatives from Indiana Department of Public Health. Michelle stated “a tremendous amount of work and collaboration has already been shown throughout Porter County, however, more needs to be done. Our goal and mandate as citizens to each other should be to ramp up efforts of communication, collaboration, and cooperation. Our next steps as a group are to determine where we go from here.”
According to the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the Hoosier state. US News & World Report found that Indiana’s government compared to the other states is the most effective in our country. As Governor Holcomb stated in the May/June Building Indiana publication, “Folks around the nation are already learning just how much further their dollar goes here in Indiana…”Do you know where Indiana ranks?
Education• #7 in high school graduation rate• #16 in college readiness• #27 overall
Crime & Corrections• #1 in low prison overpopulation• #10 equality in juvenile jailing
Below you will find pictures of substances can you tell which one is the illicit drug? If you cannot tell, do you think young children will be able to? Marijuana edibles are on the rise and so are emergency room visits, especially in states where edibles are legal. Young children think they are consuming a food product and the results are catastrophic.
So many people feel marijuana are not harmful because they “smoked it” when they were kids. When something is smoked, an almost immediate effect can be felt. Yet when someone consumes an edible marijuana food product, they have to wait on digestion to take place. So the effects may come several hours later. Teens who are looking for a quick high tend to overdose because they end up consuming 4-5 times the serving size listed on packaging. They eat more because they feel it is not working or that it is food and is “safe”.
Every time our sales team speaks with an agency, the question comes up about the differences between lab based analysis and instant testing. Since Great Lakes Labs is a provider of both types of testing, we thought we would highlight a few of the differences for you in this easy to read chart.*Great Lakes Labs has drug testing solutions for every budget. Our extensive compliment of drug testing options allows us to customize a plan that works best for your agency’s needs.Both lab based and instant testing have their place, but when it comes to being legally defensible and the ability to provide sound expert witness, lab based analysis is the choice every time!Whether you are new to GLL services or an existing customer, we have an open door policy that allows you to review your drug testing options. Contact our sales team today to discuss your drug screening program. firstname.lastname@example.org 1-888-464-8885
Endogenous ethanol production, otherwise known as Auto Brewery Syndrome or gut fermentation is a rare circumstance which allows alcohol to be fermented in the body; specifically the stomach and intestines. This phenomenon occurs in individuals that have an abundance of yeast inside the intestines. Yeast can build up to the point where introduction of any sugar into the body can cause a reaction that rivals drinking excessively. If an individual consumes the slightest amount of carbohydrate, the body will convert this sugar into ethanol causing a spike in the blood alcohol. This syndrome is extremely rare and one of the only ways to get an accurate diagnosis involves a complex testing regimen under very strict and controlled environmental conditions.Research is ongoing about this syndrome. If you are interested in learning more, please contact a medical professional or family doctor.
LSD seems to be making its way back into the drug circuit. In the past, lab based testing was the only method of analysis. Today, LSD can be preliminarily tested through an instant dip card. We also offer LSD confirmation. (Please note that LSD is light sensitive. It degrades rapidly when exposed to light. After the collection is performed, immediately seal it and cover the cup with aluminum foil.)To order LSD instant test kits or LSD lab based confirmation please contact the sales team at email@example.com or 1-888-464-8885
A new opioid is on the street. It’s quickly spreading across the United States and has caused at least 60 deaths. As a first responder, probation officer, field officer, or even counselor it is imperative that you understand the dangers that you may be faced with. While there is no set compound for this heinous drug, we do know some of the chemicals and other drugs that are used to formulate it.
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic usually used in animals. It is known on the street as Special K or Cat Valium. It is likened to an intense PCP high because of its hallucinogenic, “out of body or near death” experience.A recent article released in Science Magazine (Vol. 355, Issue 6332) states “the opium poppy is no longer the starting point for many of the opiates on the street. The new compounds, often sold mixed with heroin, originate in illicit labs from China.” Why wait for the poppy plant to grow and be harvested when, you can have a synthesized version of the drug readily available?Knowing these facts, grey death is coined as such due to its concrete like color and its ability to cause sudden death with minute amounts. Even dusting it off your shirt, inhaling it or picking something up that is laced with it can be deadly. So first responders, probation and community correction officers or any other person that may have potential exposure, as you are out in the field, please make sure that you are using universal precautions, keep Narcan in your emergency kit, and be cautious of your surroundings.
As you can see, this chart highlights all opioid deaths compared to heroin. It does not include any of the growing concern of grey death (it was discovered in 2016). People on the street may call it heroin, but you do not know what you are truly getting.
In the last month, Great Lakes Labs and its staff have been busy in the community. We believe that it is imperative to a part of the solution through education. We wanted to share with you:FYSB also known as Family and Youth Services Bureau put on an educational seminar for both professionals and the community. Our CEO, Michelle Volk, was one of the keynote speakers. Her assigned topic, Synthetic Drug Trends, highlighted the difference between a synthetic (manufactured with chemicals) and a natural drug (from a plant source). In detail, they learned about Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Cathinones, and even the trending Synthetic Opioids that are causing the latest death toll across the U.S. While this topic may seem like drugs 101 to many of you who work in fields where drugs are so prominent, there are still so many professionals, community members, parents and family that are just now learning about what is out there. We applaud the efforts Michelle makes to continue to educate our community.
Valparaiso Police Department Annual K-9 Run is a fundraising event that GLL staff supports every year. We realize the importance of the K-9 unit presence in law enforcement. For a day we volunteer in various capacities including being “traffic cops”. At the end of the day, our few hours of time helped to raise several thousand dollars for our K-9 dogs. If you want to volunteer for this event in 2018, please visit https://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/351/K-9-Division.Community Collaborators Who Care is just that. It’s a group of community organizations and businesses that decided to get together and provide education and awareness to the public. One of the sponsors was Great Lakes Labs. It was an extensive day of training that involved messages from Senator Donnelly, Joe Rannazzisi a former DEA agent, a parent who lost her son to an opioid overdose, and a “Hidden in Plain Sight” bedroom set up for family members to learn what to look for when they suspect a loved one of drug use. For those that were able to attend the training, Naloxone kits were issued at completion of the seminar.This may not seem impactful, but when you think about the little girl and the starfish that washed up on shore, as she brought the starfish back to the sea - it matters to that one.
The following email was sent to us a thanks for our professionalism and expertise during a trial. The names have been omitted for privacy reasons.
Dear Great Lakes Labs
I want to commend you for the exceeding competence and professionalism you exhibited during the trial of _____ yesterday. You brought to trial the voice and demeanor of a highly skilled and knowledgeable witness.All of the jurors wanted to stay after the trial to talk with me. They wanted to talk about the experience and ask a few questions about confusing procedural issues. They also wanted me to know how impressed they were with your testimony. They specifically mentioned how you looked them in the eye; how you took the time to explain your answers; how you knew this case inside and out; and how you were unflappable when the defense attorney tried to challenge your education, and tried to attack the two different results and the markings on the Chain of Custody form, They appreciated your combination of respectful professionalism and firmness. One of them commented that she figured I wished all of my witnesses would be that solid in all of my trials. She's right.Your extensive preparation and knowlodge of the case, coupled with your demeanor on the stand and exceptionally effective fielding of questions won the day. In the end _____ was afforded a fair trial and every opportumty to defend himself.Thank you for your assistance in securing a just result.
With sincere thanks and admiration
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
Like many professionals out there, CEU’s (continuing education units) are required to maintain a standard of quality of service. Medical and private laboratories and their scientists are also held to a high standard . The American Association of Bioanalysts, were formed not only to give a voice to private laboratories, like GLL, but to make sure that private labs remain educated in the ever evolving scientific world. Thus, the . Proficiency Examination Review Handbook was created. PER is a long standing aptitude program that keeps bioanalysts both up to date on scientific methods, helps to prepare for state licensing and private certifying examinations for technologists/technicians in the disciplines of clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, and microbiology. Like any test, not everyone can or will pass this testing. Therefore, it is an extreme honor to be certified.Great Lakes Labs has once again passed its proficiency certification with flying colors. That means we can continue to provide knowledgeable scientific expertise. GLL staff are here to assist agencies with their drug testing needs. To learn more about our proficiency testing or inquire about our superb lab services, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-464-8885
CLIA- Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments is an organization managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. This organization monitors, inspects, and approves laboratories to perform analysis services without interruption. Each laboratory must go through annual inspections to validate performance, compliance with the CLIA standards and much more. Our inspector echoed these words in her extensive report, “The laboratory was found to be in substantial compliance with CLIA regulations. No deficiencies were cited.” That is an A+ in our book! To learn more about our CLIA certification or inquire about our lab services please contact us: email@example.com or 1-888-464-8885
For those who have been following the heroin epidemic in our region, there is more tothe deadly drug. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl has been the typical additive to heroin on the street. Another analog of Fentanyl, known as Carfentanil, has also been detected in street heroin. However, Carfentanil can be abused by itself, and is purchased through the internet and delivered to your door via US Mail. It is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and is used in veterinary practices to immobilize large animals such as elephants. Recently, China has begun the process to ban Carfentanil from the country. United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials believe that China is the main source of Carfentanil coming into our country.
A bag of drugs that was seized in a raid is displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Virginia. The DEA is setting up an office in China to work with Beijing to try to cut off the Chinese supply of deadly synthetic drugs, like fentanyl and carfentanil. China disputes US claims that it's the main source of opioids. Still, Beijing has already banned fentanyl, an opioid some 50 times stronger than heroin.Great Lakes Labs has been instrumental in detecting these drugs that are out on the streets through our various partnerships with narcotic divisions. Fentanyl analysis is available for the substance, in blood or urine. While Carfentanil analysis is currently not available in biological samples (blood, urine, saliva), our laboratory team continues to research methods to bring this service to fruition. Contact our laboratory to see what testing matrices are best for your agency at 1- 888-464-8885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our March newsletter we included a survey. Upon completion of the survey, a $10 gift card would be randomly awarded to one individual. Congratulations to Jill J. for winning a $10 gift card to the establishment of your choice. Stay tuned for more opportunities to share your input and win a prize. Jill if you have not been contacted to claim your gift card please call us. 219-464-8885.
Great Lakes Labs would appreciate you taking about 2 minutes to complete a 4 question survey.
Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZJV7LHV
Once you complete the survey, your name will be entered for a $10 gift card.
GLL laboratory staff often receives questions about the meaning of the THC/Creatinine Ratio. We thought it fitting to share this information with you.
What is DBAFT? The acronym stands for Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology. The accrediting body is responsible for identifying qualified forensic scientists who provide essential professional services to the nation’s judicial and executive branches of government. In response to this professional need, the American Board of Forensic Toxicology was organized in 1975 to provide the public and advancement of the sciences, a qualifying association for forensic toxicology. The ABFT is analogous to the accrediting bodies in various medical specialties and other professions.
February is said to be the month of love. It’s supposed to be a time when significant others come up with unique ways to express their affections. Great Lakes Labs believes this should not only be for loved ones but apply to all of our clients. We want to show our appreciation to existing clients and potential clients. Therefore, from now until March 15th, we are offering exciting promotions.
Direct observation may not be worth the price when collecting a urine specimen for drug screening. Great Lakes Labs in Valparaiso, Indiana has a new test that can detect fake urine or otherwise known as synthetic urine. Laboratories across the country are testing urine samples for validity such as creatinine, specific gravity, oxidants, gluteraldeyde, nitrite and pH levels. But now, a more specific test for fake urine is available to determine if it is “for real” or not.
At a very reasonable fee, a client can ask for this fake urine analysis in addition to their other laboratory testing. Please contact a representative today at 219-464-2669, email at email@example.com,; and visit our website to learn more at www.gl-labs.com.
Did you know that onsite (instant) testing devices for drugs of abuse originated out of the necessity for emergency (triage) purposes? Decades ago, emergency rooms across the nation were scrambling for vital life saving techniques that could assist the hospital staff in rapid treatment of patients facing overdose.
Fast forwarding to today, in a world where everything seems to be “instant”, technology has allowed not only healthcare, but drug abuse treatment programs, counseling centers, addiction centers and even parents to have access to multiple testing options at their fingertips. While this is not the last say in treatment, it is a first response to help someone fighting addiction.
Did you know that Great Lakes Labs is an onsite (instant) testing provider? Our web store : www.GLL-SHOP.com has all of your testing needs in one place. Visit the web store to browse our selection of devices and services.